Our church is being intentional this year as we observe this advent season. Every Life Group in our church is working through the same study, from KidMin through our oldest saints! I am so excited that we are all moving in the same direction as we consider the glory of the Savior’s birth.
Last Sunday, we started our five-week series by considering the hope this season brings. As I reflect on the day and the message, I am moved by the truths we studied and the discussions birthed out of our corporate study. Below are a few reflections I have as we move into week two.
1. The radical depravity of humanity. We can talk about sin and our need for forgiveness. We can even acknowledge the fact that we cannot earn our salvation through our merits. Still, unless we grasp the extent of our own wickedness and sin nature, it is impossible to fully appreciate the amazing grace extended to us through Christ’s death and resurrection. The reality is after Adam and Eve fell from their state of innocence, all would be hopeless had the Father not provided the hope of a Savior. We see this hope promised in the seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent in Genesis 3:15.
Friends, it is often good to remember who we were before Christ saved us. We were children of wrath, dead in our sins and trespasses until we have been made alive in Christ. This is what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2, but unless we are aware of our former state of death, how can we appreciate our new and eternal life in Christ? In Christ, we are made new and given new hearts (Ezekiel 36). The heart of stone, the death, and the decay of our iniquity are transplanted by the grace of God. A heart on which the LORD has written his law; a heart sealed by the Holy Spirit. He is the one that does the work!
2. The patience of the Old Testament saints. If you consider from the time of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3) to the birth of Christ, about 2,000 years passed, and if you consider about 2,000 years from the birth of Christ to today, and if you consider the earth to be somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years old, then it follows that from Genesis 3:15 to Genesis 12:1-3 covers between 2,000 and 6,000 years. The first promise of hope and redemption came thousands of years before the covenant made with Abraham and thousands more before the advent of the woman’s seed who crushed the serpent’s head.
This Christmas season, when we sing “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” it is essential to remember the thousands of years the people of God waited for Messiah to come. Furthermore, we need to consider the anticipation of their wait as we now wait for his second advent. It is easy for us to get into the ruts of life where we stop anticipating the Savior’s return. When we lose sight of that glorious reality, we begin to lose the joy that reality brings. Dear friend, do not grow weary in waiting for the LORD. As Peter says, he is not slow about his promises!
3. God has been working out his plan to redeem humanity since the foundations of the world were laid. Sometimes, we lose sight of the fact that God knew the fall would happen. Some might even argue he intended the fall to demonstrate his glory to his creation. Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, we must never lose sight of the fact that God the Father was not caught off guard by the fall. Redemption and restoration are not responses to the fall. No, they are all part of God’s sovereign plan that is sovereignly and providentially carried out according to his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Suppose God has been working his plan of redemption and restoration from the foundations of the world, and his grace has saved you from the depravity of your sinful self. What does that tell you about how the Father in heaven, the Creator and Sustainer of all the universe, regards you? He knew you from the laying of the foundations, and despite your sin, He has regarded you. He has purchased you by the blood of Jesus and adopted you as a son or daughter of the Most High. Friend, God’s plan of redemption is purposeful and precise. He is working all things together for his glory and our good, amen!
I am excited for the next several weeks as we dive further into our study of advent. If you want to join us, you can stream our services from our app (https://get.theapp.co/z72c) or our website (www.fairviewsherman.com). Service is at 10:30 on Sunday morning. We would love to have you worship with us if you are in the area. Our address is 222 W. Taylor St., Sherman, TX 75092.